On Sunday, Republican senators voted to reject a cap on private-market insulin prices, removing it from Democrats’ sweeping climate and economic packages.
Democrats had tried to retain provisions that would cap private insurers’ insulin costs at $35, but the vote lost 57 to 43, with seven Republicans voting with them to keep the insulin cost cap in the bill, more than Three fewer are required.
The move is expected to follow a decision by Senate lawmakers who earlier determined that insulin supplies did not meet the Chamber’s strict budget rules. Democrats need to abide by those rules to advance the legislation, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, without any Republican vote.
However, the legislation still includes a $35 copay cap on the price of insulin for Medicare-enrolled seniors.
After the vote, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon accused Republicans of bowing to pressure from the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of citizens.
“Republicans have just come out in support of expensive insulin,” Wyden said in a statement. “After years of heated discussions with insulin makers, Republicans at one point languished amid fierce opposition from Big Pharma.”
“Luckily, the $35 insulin copay cap on Medicare is still on the bill, so older adults will get relief from high insulin costs. I will continue to work to bring lower insulin costs to all Americans,” he said. added.
Republican Senators Bill Cassidy and John F. Kennedy of Louisiana; Susan Collins of Maine; Josh Hawley of Missouri; Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi; Lisa Mu of Alaska Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan voted with Democrats on Sunday to keep private insurers’ insulin caps.
Senators have been on an amendment vote over the weekend after the House voted 51-50 on Saturday, with all Republicans opposing a motion to move forward with the bill, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie vote .
Senate Democrats are aiming to pass the legislation on Sunday, bringing long-stalled elements of President Joe Biden’s agenda, including major spending on climate change and expanding health care coverage, a step closer to reality. The package will then head to the House of Representatives, where it is currently scheduled to pass on Friday.
Julia Jester, Ali Vitaly, Julie Zilkin and Frank Thorpe V contributed.